The Allahabad High Court (HC) recently observed that the city of Prayagraj hosts a number of religious congregations (Melas) which results in additional sewage and solid waste, therefore, extra efforts should be made by the city administration to take care of this additional load on the system.
The Secretary of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Department, Government of UP had filed an affidavit on January 4, before the court in a batch of Public Interest Litigations (PIL) pertaining to river pollution in the state.
Although the affidavit contained details of the Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) in Prayagraj which discharge sewage in rivers Ganga and Yamuna on a daily basis, it did not state anything regarding the management of the additional sewage and solid waste that is generated during the religious festivals.
Taking a serious view of the attitude of authorities towards the issue, the bench of Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal, Justice Manoj Kumar Gupta and Justice Ajit Kumar noted, “The matter is pending in this Court for the past 16 years. The amount of work required to provide the capacity for treatment of the sewage being generated in the City is not commensurate with the increase in population and generation of more sewage. In fact, even the need of the then-existing population has not been taken care of in years".
Accordingly, keeping in mind the ongoing Magh Mela, which started on January 6 and will continue till February 18, the court ordered the authorities to ensure that during the Mela, no waste, either liquid or solid, generated and collected in temporary toilets constructed in the Mela area is discharged in the two rivers.
“In any circumstances, there has to be proper mechanism to collect and send the same to any of the STPs. If sewage is collected in septic tank, it shall be ensured that it is removed at the end of Mela and not left at the banks,” the court directed.
Moreover, while ordering the authorities to properly enforce the plastic ban in the Mela area, the court said that regular monitoring of quality of water flowing in river Ganga downstream in district Kanpur and upstream in district Prayagraj should also be done.
The matter will be next taken up on January 19.
Read all the Latest India News here